Hershey Introduces First New U.S. Brand in 30 Years

Hershey Co. plans to bring the Lancaster line of caramel soft cremes that it introduced in China to its home market next year, marking its first new U.S. confectionery brand in 30 years.

The cremes will go on sale in January and come in three flavors, the Hershey, Pennsylvania-based company said today in a statement. The candies, introduced in China in May, are named after Lancaster Caramel Co., which company founder Milton Hershey opened in 1886 and sold to American Caramel Co. 14 years later.

That Hershey started selling a product abroad before bringing it to the U.S. shows how much North America’s largest chocolate producer has focused on expanding internationally after passing up the chance to buy British candy maker Cadbury Ltd. in January 2010. The milk candy market in China is worth about $1.2 billion, Chief Executive Officer John Bilbrey said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call.

Cadbury was eventually acquired by Kraft Foods Inc. for about $19 billion.

Hershey rose 2.3 percent to $93.76 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 30 percent this year, compared with an 19 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

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